Food

Mediterranean Stuffed Butternut Squash (Vegan)


Sweet roasted butternut squash is stuffed with a pre-cooked Mediterranean filling inspired by the traditional Greek Spanakorizo aka Spinach and Rice. We changed the seasoning slightly and added even more typical Mediterranean ingredients like black olives, chickpeas, and feta cheese to make this delicious and filling Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash recipe.

Silver baking tray from above with 2 orange butternut squash cut in half and stuffed with rice, spinach, chickpeas, olives and crumbles feta cheese drizzled with black balsamic vinegar

If you are looking for more Mediterranean dishes, try our Vegan Moussaka, Vegan Chickpea Shakshuka, Mediterranean Hummus Pizza, or Mediterranean Grazing Board recipes.

This recipe is part of the 35+ Easy Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes.

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What to expect from this recipe?

Have you heard of the Greek vegetarian dish called Spanakorizo? It is an easy comfort food meal made with spinach and rice. According to the traditional Spanakorizo recipe, they prepare light lemony rice with spinach and tomato and season it will dill. We took this classic to make the stuffing for butternut squash with a twist.

So what can you expect when you make it? This savory Mediterranean stuffing pairs great with the creamy sweet roasted sweet potatoes. The olives and the feta cheese give an extra salty kick, while the chickpeas are a great way to add protein without having an ingredient with a strong overpowering taste. The filling is seasoned with thyme, sage, and rosemary aka typical Mediterranean herbs.

  • It is aromatic, but not spicy.
  • Sweet and savory at the same time for every bite.
  • Easy to make.
  • Rich and filling.
  • Colorful and appetizing.
Silver baking tray with orange butternut squash cut in half and stuffed with rice, spinach, chickpeas, olives and crumbles feta cheese drizzled with black balsamic vinegar

How to choose the right butternut squash

You can use pretty much any type of butternut squash but here is what we pay attention to.

  • Its main season is fall from September to November.
  • The larger squash you choose, the longer you need to roast it.
  • Pay attention to the size of your oven-safe pan, so the one you choose will fit within.
  • Choose a squash with no indentations or discoloring or soft mushy areas. No deep cuts, but minimal brusing is fine due to transport or storage. These are clues as to how fresh the pumpkin really is.
  • Choose heavy ones. If you knock on them and they sound hollow, they should be ripe.

Can you use other types of pumpkin or squash?

Yes, you can substitute butternut squash with other types, like acorn squash, kabocha squash, or delicata squash. You can also use your favorite pumpkin as well.

However, if you choose large pumpkins, they will need a longer time to roast. They may need a larger amount of stuffing. Squashes that are thin and long are better for stuffed recipes, so you can have a better ratio between the filling and the pumpkin.

Silver baking tray with orange butternut squash cut in half and stuffed with rice, spinach, chickpeas, olives and crumbles feta cheese drizzled with black balsamic vinegar

Ingredients

To make this Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash, here is what you need to make the filling:

  • Risotto rice (we use Arborio rice)
  • Spinach leaves
  • Black olives or Kalamata olives
  • Feta cheese (we use Violife Vegan Feta*)
  • Chickpeas (pre-cooked or canned)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Thyme, sage and rosemary
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Balsamic reduction to glaze it

How to roast butternut squash?

  1. Wash the butternut squash thoroughly.
  2. Don’t peel it otherwise it will not hold the stuffing.
  3. Cut it in half horizontally and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 395 Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius).
  5. Choose an oven-safe pan, a sheet pan or a baking tray. We don’t recommend a baking sheet as the juicies may drip over the edges. Butternut squash can have a high water content that will be released during roasting. Place it with cut-side up.
  6. Bake it for appox. 45 minutes or until you see the edges are getting lightly brownish. It has to be fork-tender. You can test it with a fork or knife if it is soft enough in the middle as well.
  7. If a liquid is collected in the area where the seeds where you can scoop it out or wait and see if it is absorbed back while they are cooling down.



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